• France edition
 
India selects Dassault for major jet deal
Armée de l'air française

India selects Dassault for major jet deal

Published: 01 Feb 2012 08:28 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Feb 2012 08:28 GMT+01:00

India has selected the French firm Dassault over the Eurofighter consortium as the preferred bidder for 126 fighter jets in a major contract estimated to be worth $12 billion (€9 billion).

 

Dassault won the right to enter exclusive negotiations with India after lodging a lower bid than its European rival in the world's biggest single defence deal currently in process, an Indian government source told AFP.

Dassault, whose Rafale fighter was pitted against the Eurofighter Typhoon, said it was "honoured and grateful" to be selected and stressed its commitment to meeting the "operational requirements" of the Indian Air Force.

The French government welcomed the news but added that the final contract had yet to be signed.

"At this stage -- and I want to be cautious -- we are in a phase of exclusive negotiations," French Minister of State for Foreign Trade Pierre Lellouche told France's BFM radio.

Lellouche declined to release financial details of Dassault's bid.

Dassault Aviation shares soared more than 20 percent on the Paris stock exchange after the news broke.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy hailed Dassault's selection, saying that it "goes far beyond the company that makes them, far beyond aerospace -- it is a vote of confidence in the entire French economy."

He said the firm was selected "thanks to the competitiveness" of its bid.

"The negotiation of the contract will begin very soon with the full support of French authorities. It will include major transfers of technology guaranteed by the French state," Sarkozy said.

Eurofighter said it respected India's decision but was disappointed.

"Although this is not yet a contract signature and contract negotiations are still ahead, we are disappointed," a statement said.

The huge contract to supply war planes to fast-developing India has been fiercely fought over for four years.

India in April pulled a surprise by cutting out US bidders Boeing and Lockheed Martin -- much to Washington's disappointment -- as well as dropping Sweden's Saab AB and the Russian makers of the MiG-35 from the race.

That left Dassault and Eurofighter -- a consortium of Britain's BAE Systems, Italy's Finmeccanica and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS).

James Hardy, Asia-Pacific editor of Jane's Defence Weekly, said the decision was "a big win for the Rafale" but warned that the French side faced a period of tough negotiation.

"Rafale has been selected as the preferred bidder but any student of Indian procurement knows that this means nothing until the contract is physically signed," Hardy said.

He predicted that the recent sharp depreciation of the Indian currency and "standard contractual wrangling" could delay any final deal for years.

The tendered contract is for the outright purchase of 18 combat aircraft by 2012 with another 108 to be built in India with options to acquire more.

Such a large order attracted strong lobbying during visits to India by US President Barack Obama, Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

India, the biggest importer of military hardware among emerging nations, issued a request for proposals in 2007 and trials of aircraft from the six companies competing for the deal began a year later.

The procurement of the fighter jets is a key part of India's military upgrade programme, aimed at securing its borders against rivals Pakistan and China.

The Rafale and the Typhoon were both in action over Libya last year during the international operation to enforce a no-fly zone and protect civilians from Moamer Kadhafi's forces.

Both plane makers were relying on the contract to secure their futures amid falling defence budgets in developed markets, with Dassault also keen to sign up the first foreign buyer for the Rafale.

French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet warned in December that the Rafale production line would be halted if none of the jets could be sold abroad.

France has ordered 180 of the planes.


 

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The Local list
The best expressions in French for having sex
From sauce pans to legs of lam: The top 15 expressions in French for having sex. Photo: Shutterstock

The best expressions in French for having sex

The French language is famous for being the language of love and it's also well known for its vast array of colourful idioms and expressions. So we’ve combined the two and picked out 15 of the best French "sexpressions" for "rumpty pumpty" a la française. READ  

Netflix: Service to launch in France in September
Netflix is set to launch in France this September. Photo: Jason Merritt/AFP

Netflix: Service to launch in France in September

We knew American video streaming service Netflix was coming to France, but now we finally have a month. The launch is set for September, but rumors are still flying around online about how much the service will cost per month. READ  

Video preview
Tour de France stage 16: Pyrenees await riders
Stage 16 of the 2014 Tour de France takes the riders into the Pyrenees. Image: LeTour.fr

Tour de France stage 16: Pyrenees await riders

The Pyrenees await the riders on stage 16 of the 2014 Tour de France on Tuesday. Can anyone threaten the lead of Italian Vincenzo Nibali? Here's a video preview of the day's route. READ  

French police bust alleged jihad recruiters
Police arrested dismantled a suspected terror cell in southern France (Frank Perry/AFP)

French police bust alleged jihad recruiters

Three people suspected of recruiting fighters for the Syrian civil war and plotting 'violent acts' were arrested early on Tuesday in France. The raid comes as France tries to stem the number of its residents fighting 'holy war' abroad. READ  

France's 'most notorious' prison closes for revamp
Paris's notorious La Sante prison has closed for an overhaul. Photo: Boris Horvat/AFP

France's 'most notorious' prison closes for revamp

France’s most notorious prison, and the only one in Paris city limits, has closed its doors for a massive multi-year renovation. La Sante has held some of France’s most famous crooks, but its inhumane conditions also became part of the effort to reform France's prison system. READ  

Paris: Street fishing on Seine snares new fans
Fancy fishing in the Seine? Apparently it's not as dirty as you might think. Photo: Fred Dufour/AFP

Paris: Street fishing on Seine snares new fans

Thought the waters of the Seine were too dirty to support any living creature? Think again. Apparently it's bursting with fish and it's leading to a new waver of "street fishers". READ  

Mistral deal with Russia is 'unthinkable': Cameron
UK Prime Minister David Cameron says selling warships to Russia is "unthinkable". Photo: Sergei Supinsky/AFP

Mistral deal with Russia is 'unthinkable': Cameron

The UK Prime Minister David Cameron has upped the pressure on France to pull out of its €1.2 billion deal with Russia to sell two warships, saying pressing ahead with the contract would be “unthinkable” in Britain after the downing of flight MH17. READ  

Hollande calls for end to Gaza suffering
French President François Hollande is calling for urgent action to stop the Gaza bloodshed. Photo: Alain Jocard/AFP

Hollande calls for end to Gaza suffering

French President François Hollande called on Monday for "everything" possible to be done in order to stop the civilian suffering in Gaza due to an Israeli bombing campaign and ground attack. READ  

Opinion - Banning protests
'France's protest ban will only lead to more trouble'
Freedom must prevail - the government must allow pro-Palestinian demonstrations to take place. Photo: AFP

'France's protest ban will only lead to more trouble'

After three banned pro-Palestinian protests ended in full scale riots, the French government must now decide whether to allow another demo to go ahead on Saturday. The head of the French League of Human Rights tells The Local it would be major mistake to ban it. READ  

Frenchwoman stung with €500 fine for feeding cats
A Frenchwoman was slapped with a stiff fine for feeding cats that weren't hers. Photo: Bev Goodwin/Flickr

Frenchwoman stung with €500 fine for feeding cats

An elderly Frenchwoman insisted this week's she's no criminal after being hit with a €500 fine for feeding the stray cats in her neighborhood. The court, which adhered to the strict rules of French law surrounding feeding stray animals, clearly saw it differently. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Forget 'faire l'amour', here's 15 top French expressions for having sex
National
Report - 'Anti-Semitic' riots in France: 'We may leave for Israel'
National
IN IMAGES: Two Paris anti-Israel demos descend into violence
National
Paris Plages: Here's 10 reasons to head down to the city beach
International
'Mont Blanc is like Disneyland. It's time to end the free-for-all'
Travel
Fancy climbing Mont Blanc? Here's 10 reasons to think twice about it
Travel
Sun's up: Temperatures in parts of France could hit 40°C
National
Monkey slur lands ex-National Front member with hefty jail sentence
National
VIDEO: Jewish 'ultras' and anti-Israel mob in running street battle in Paris
International
Middle East crisis: 'Jews in France are stand-ins for Israeli targets'
Culture
IN PICTURES: Bastille Day fireworks mark centenary of the 'Great War'
Gallery
Looking for a weird museum in Paris? Here's 10 that are worth a visit
National
Clear your head: Eight tips for buying wine in a French supermarket
National
'Don't blame the labour market for France's unemployment woes!'
National
Job applicants in France: Be prepared to send in an anonymous CV
Sport
'I've never seen scenes like it' - Tour de France winner on the UK crowds
Sport
'Bouligans' to booze bans: Ten things you need to know about pétanque
Gallery
Driving in France: How to stay out of trouble on the roads
Travel
Ten essential free phone apps for a visit to Paris
Gallery
Like cycling? Love France? See the top ten best cycling routes in France
International
'They think beer is a vegetable': What the French really think of Germans
National
Sarkozy's dream of a 2017 comeback is not dead yet
Gallery
Ten reasons why France is better than Germany (we're not talking football)
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se